Horror video games thrive on having the ability to shock the participant. AAA horror video games often imagine they should artificially lengthen their size with a purpose to justify their price ticket, which might result in a extra repetitive expertise. By the tip of the sport, you’ve been doing the identical factor lengthy sufficient that you’re not shocked, and thus not scared. Resident Evil: Village managed to get round that by making a theme park of horror, consistently shifting between fully totally different areas, with wildly totally different tones and gameplay, with a purpose to preserve you from feeling secure.
After a story-focused intro, the sport drops you within the titular village, offering a basic RE-style compact house that slowly unlocks and loops again on itself as you progress. For followers of Resident Evil 4, the setting feels acquainted, as does the opening set-piece the place you need to survive an onslaught of enemies, providing you with an opportunity to get used to the sport’s fight mechanics. The village space acts as your hub, and keys or gadgets you discover in different areas will unlock new locations to seek for secrets and techniques. Every time you come back, the village acts as a palette cleanser earlier than letting you pattern the following taste of horror it has to supply.
The following major places are all given a singular tone, every reflecting one of many 4 lords that reside there. Whereas the collection isn’t precisely identified for its refined villains, the 4 lords appear much more over-the-top and cartoonish in comparison with the comparatively grounded Baker household from RE7. Very similar to Steel Gear Stable antagonists, they every have a powerful visible language that communicates their character, with an identical powerset to additional differentiate them. It’s a daring technique that offers the remainder of the sport a segmented really feel, whereas nonetheless managing to behave as a cohesive entire.
The primary of those themed areas is Girl Dimitrescu’s citadel, which performs out like an opulent model of the RE2 police station. This space is supposed to enchantment to individuals who might have just lately performed the RE2 Remake, as it’s the just one that options an unkillable, Mr. X-like stalker character, the aforementioned Girl Dimitrescu. The gameplay suits completely within the new setting, with just a few miniboss fights sprinkled all through the usual key assortment and light-weight puzzle fixing. It’s an ideal approach to ease you into the sport and lull you right into a false sense of familiarity earlier than pulling the rug out from underneath you.
After a short cease within the central village, you head to Home Beneviento, which is definitely my favourite part of the sport. Upon getting into, your weapons are taken away, instantly shattering the expectations from the earlier space, letting you realize you’re in for a whole change of tempo. Right here, the sport switches from the usual RE-style exploration to a extra dream logic, puzzle-focused gameplay, echoing the discovered footage escape room sections of RE7. The surreal puzzles all have a surprisingly emotional give attention to Ethan’s household, giving the sport a much-needed emotional grounding whereas nonetheless managing to creep the hell out of you. I’m unsure RE: Village may survive fully on such a gameplay, however it’s an ideal diversion after the extra normal opening stage.
On the finish of every of the primary two areas, you discover certainly one of 4 plot-important flasks, however within the third space, the Reservoir, you discover it instantly and spend the remainder of your time attempting to flee. Reasonably than consistently trying to find keys and doubling again to unlock new rooms, this part focuses extra on determining the right way to navigate the world and unlock it in a extra linear trend. Whereas it’s not as huge of a departure as Home Beneviento, it’s one other welcome change of tempo, and as soon as once more brings to thoughts RE4 with its alternative of set dressing. The linearity of it’s appreciated, particularly relating to the chase with the large fish monsters in a flooded portion of the map.
The ultimate few areas swap issues as much as a extra action-heavy focus, with a change of surroundings every time. First, you have got a large-scale battle in a Stronghold, preventing off wave after wave of werewolves. It’s a tense train in ammo administration that leads properly into Heisenberg’s Manufacturing facility. Right here, you face off in opposition to unusual mechanized experiments, a completely totally different sort of enemy than something you’ve seen within the recreation. Despite the fact that it’s very action-heavy just like the Stronghold, the enemy varieties change the way you play, asking the participant to focus on particular, usually difficult to succeed in, weak factors. This all climaxes in a guns-blazing showdown within the central village, the place you’re tearing by way of monsters as a well-armed Chris Redfield. After all of the extra measured gameplay of the primary half, it’s a bit disappointing that the tip turns into so action-oriented, however it looks like an acceptable escalation of the story.
If RE7 proved something, it’s that the collection could possibly be malleable with its content material whereas nonetheless feeling prefer it belonged with the opposite video games. Reasonably than the standard zombies we received unstoppable cannibals and unusual mould creatures. With VIllage, the RE workforce stretched the premise even additional, incorporating vampires, werewolves, creepy dolls, and mechanized monstrosities, all with out shattering the world they’ve created during the last 25 years. Whereas RE7 succeeded as a result of they scaled it down and centered on the fundamentals, Village succeeded as a result of they took the revamped gameplay of seven and blew it up with a kitchen sink strategy to worldbuilding. The sheer number of horror tropes which might be thrown at you with out feeling overwhelming makes for one of the crucial thrilling experiences of 2021.